FORWARD The year 2021 saw significant improvement in the management of the Coronavirus Outbreak in the country and particularly in the implementation of the EITI Standard. As with many EITI implementing countries around the globe, Papua New Guinea (PNG) experienced disruptions in implementing the EITI Standard due to the pandemic lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the Government. With more relaxed measures enforced through the National Executive Council (NEC) Decisions, the PNGEITI Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) sought to progress outstanding activities carried over from the 2020 Annual Work Plan due to the Covid -19 pandemic shutdowns and restrictions. Despite the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 Lucas Alkan Secretariat , Head of PNGEITI National Pandemic that delayed many planned activities and culminating in wider negative socioeconomic consequences for the country, the MSG remains steadfast in maintaining its position to strengthen good governance in the extractives sector through the implementation of the EITI Global Standard. Evident in our long-lasting shared vision is the continual support by the PNG Government in supporting the program with recurrent funding through the national budget; which had resulted in the publication of seven (7) PNGEITI Country Reports consecutively that covered the financial years 2013 to 2019. Furthermore, the publication of various other studies including; the subnational payments and transfers, the State-owned Enterprises, the Beneficial Ownership Disclosure, and the Contract Transparency (Disclosure) all aimed at improving the reporting and disclosure in the country’s extractives sector. This report fulfils the EITI Standard’s mandatory requirement (Requirement 7.4) relating to the Review of the outcomes and impact of EITI implementation through the production of an Annual PNGEITI Progress Report (APR).
The APR is intended to highlight the outcomes and impacts of EITI implementation by member countries in a particular fiscal year. The PNGEITI MSG has fulfilled this requirement with the production of eight APR’s covering the fiscal years 2014 to 2021, with the diligent facilitation by the National Secretariat. Key highlights in the year 2021 include; the staging of the PNGEITI Regional Consultations on the draft legislation (PNGEITI Commission Bill) , PNGEITI’s participation in the Mining Development Forums and the MoA’s and the preparation of the PNG Validation in 2022. A setback for the year was the delayed publishing of the 2019 PNGEITI Report due to the Covid19 related disturbances. The combined efforts of the various MSG Technical Working Groups (TWG) resulted in the publication of other important reports that included; the delivery of the SOE scoping study, the Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Report and the Contract Transparency (disclosure) Report. With the emphasis placed on establishing the PNGEITI as a Statutory Commission, the National Secretariat and the MSG Technical Working Group conducted consultations in the four regions of the country. The outcome of this exercise was the successful completion of the draft Bill. The next phase will be to ensure that the regional views and feedback collected are considered and the draft Bill finalised for submission to Parliament in 2022. 5 The increased partnership between PNGEITI and the mining stakeholders resulted in the EITI provision being included in the Simberi Mining Project Draft MoA. The other projects which have included EITI clauses are the K92 Gold Mining Project in the Eastern Highlands Province and the Woodlark Gold Mining Project in the Milne Bay Province. In response to the negative impact brought about by the Covid-19 Pandemic on EITI implementing countries, the EITI International allowed flexibility in the reporting requirements for member countries to cope with the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.
The PNGEITI MSG requested for a series of extensions to the Validation which is now set to commence in April 2022. In addition to the above programs, the PNGEITI annual recurrent programs were implemented with technical support from international development partners such as the World Bank, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Technical Cooperation Program and industry companies’ support. The PNGEITI-JICA Project delivered substantive output which resulted in increased data quality in the FY2019 PNGEITI Report as well as enhancing collaboration between the Department of Petroleum and the MSG. The two and a half year project which was scheduled to conclude by the end of 2020 ended in early 2022 instead due to the Covid-19 restrictions and shutdowns. Further, the 2021 PNGEITI communications programs achieved satisfactory results in 2020 as a result of maintaining its presence in the mainstream media promoting the 2018 and 2019 PNGEITI Reports findings. The various online discussions and engagement events proved invaluable for various audiences towards the end of 2021. The limited outreach activities conducted made impact in terms of stimulating dialogue and collaboration amongst local civil society groups. It also enabled State regulators and academics, both domestic and international to address pertinent issues related to extractive sector governance in PNG.
Administratively, the regular MSG quarterly meetings were affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns and social distancing measures imposed by the Government. Despite this challenge, the National Secretariat supported the MSG to deliver key and priority activities in the 2021 Annual Work Plan. The various MSG Technical Working Groups were able to attend meetings, and the consultations and workshops. The recent emphasis on gender balance in the 2019 EITI Standard is captured as a recurrent item within MSG annual work plan going beyond 2021. Data from the MSG meeting minutes indicated a need to strengthen female participation however, despite gender disparity, female voting members played a significant role in enhancing the EITI implementation from years 2012- 2021. I hope this report serves its purpose of informing the progress made in implementing the EITI Standard in Papua New Guinea. I hereby present this annual report for the financial year 2021 for your utmost interest and consideration.